tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN July 17, 2012 1:00am-6:00am EDT
let the tax cuts expired. i cannot believe republicans, 90% of them have signed a no new taxes' pledge. i cannot believe they are going to the fact -- defect despite what coburn wrote. the one risk is we never get enough revenue to deal with the fiscal issue. the other risk which would be incredibly damaging to the economy and another risk is coit snds e like what we're gng tak the secd skhe aene we coulget some stimulus short- term but that is not related to the bush tax cuts and we're going to move forward on the revenue effort of the long term fiscal solution.
that seems like a choice, balancing one risk against another. no matter what you do you are facing risk. >> you have to ask a question. if we had defaulted last august, maybe three or four weeks later, come up with a plan, would that have caused no more damage to the economy that we go into january and come up with a plan that is retroactive to generate one? every person i have asked that reallyon to says it ain't close trade once you default you do for damage to the full faith and credit of the u.s. government. the reason we're going over the cliff is because of the aggregate demand. you do not pull that much aggregate demand in the first few weeks. and make most things retroactive to january 1. it would create uncertainty saar have asked a number of wall street types -- so i have asked
a number of wall street types about this. you would get volatility to my interest rates might go up, but if you then get the deal, that would fadeaway and what is striking is the paper put out by the carlyle group. it cannot get much more establishment. they basically say there is a risk of going into january but the bigger risks to the economy is kicking the can down the road and not addressing the deficit said at all. and the tax reform issue, this is a challenge and risk to both parties. everybody talks a good game on tax expenditures. he mentioned at all and i forget the second. there were really tiny. -- they were really tiny. it is striking about all these plans, cut tax rates and pay
for with tax expenditures. they have one specific and that is to take capital gains and dividend rates off the table which makes it impossible to pay for the big tax cuts unless you end up doing a net increase of taxes in the middle. a big challenge for both parties not just [inaudible] if you have some from work, you will achieve x but you will lower the top rate and you then get into the finance and ways and means committees and look what you have to do to mortgage and charitable and employer health exclusion. do they have the gumption to do it? i do not know. i am worried about that and frankly it is why my recommendation is not to lock in up front what the maximum top rate would be. just walk -- locked in your revenue number and say the more you're willing to close tax expenditures, the more you lower
the rate but i worry that a deal that locks in the maximum top rate and gives you a revenue number, those two numbers conflict when the policy makers confront the specific choices and i worry that if that occurs, the revenue number gives way and we do not get the deficit. >> you are right to worry. senator coburn side some symbols -- signed simpson- bowles. the point is, such plans do exist and some republicans are for them. >> i do not think either party -- i do not want to single out the republicans. you cannot get a majority of either party to vote for the plan in bowles-simpson.
>> we may be in a different environment with respect to taxes which is less income until they used to be. >> i agree. the perfect example coming back to living tax cuts will expire would raise more revenue than bowles-simpson would generate. it has a structural issue. >> all the tax cuts, not just the high income. >> the baseline which lets the tax cuts expire would raise no -- more revenue than the simpson did.les you can let tax cuts expire so let's cut taxes and get down to bowles-simpson. >> that was naive.
>> i do not think that lawmakers will tech -- let all the tax payments expire. >> you have more revenue and you had a structure that a lot of people did not like. you have an incentive to make the change. if you make the change now that would be scored as a revenue increase and it would be killing a lot of people's taxes. the strategy here matters a lot. >> i hate to think we get driven to responsible tax reform by falling off the cliff but maybe -- it is the incentive that some of them need. i would like to see the -- think that congress and the president could move jointly into tax
reform. >> 90% of americans sign and then -- >> i do not have much guts. >> how do you get tax reform from the current system? how did you get around that constraint? >> i do not know how many of signed it. i understand as does, there are a number who are willing to discuss putting revenues in any kind of a grand conclusion. i am with her. i think eventually it is going to happen but i hate to see us thrown off the cliff to have it happen. i notice that a couple of people here mentioned if we got thrown off the cliff and to -- what did the cdo say -- cbo say? >> 1.4% or 1.2%. >> in the second six months it
increases more than in the first six months. and what is possible -- it is possible we could have some stimulus programs. if they could not agree on that cliff problems, there would agree on the stimulus question. that is pretty much out of the question. >> let's go to the audience. ask a question, did not make a statement so we can get more questions in. you'll have to come up here. go ahead. >> thanks reim much. i write the mitchell report and i want to ask this group of economists including you, a political question. that is if we define best of all worlds as some sort of deal in december or the early part of
january, followed by some substantive tax reform over the course of the next six to 12 months. what political configuration do you think creates the greatest likelihood that either or both of those could get done? the status quo meeting obama is back in the white house and republicans have the house and democrats have the senate. or romney in the white house and status quo in the congress, a republican sweep, a democratic sweep. is there something to be said and i would add to this that the reporting i have been doing and seeing, virtually all the new recruits, republican recruits running for congress are not signing the pledge. which i think is an interesting -- >> great question. what do you think? >> i think sweeps are not in our
interest at this moment. we must have a bipartisan deal and the chances are getting one are greater either with the status quo or with some other configuration against both parties a say in the deal. >> can i answer very briefly what she very briefly? what she said. >> i was thinking half an hour ago that we should clarify. most of this discussion is based on the assumption that, for example, there would not be a republican sweep. if there is a republican sweep, you get everything extended until the new congress comes in and president rummy takes office and then you have a budget resolution and -- president romney and it takes office and then you have a budget resolution. romney might be forced to move
forward with his right cuts which are in the ryan budget. what we're talking about implies next government. the most likely -- implies a mixed government. you mentioned something we have all been saying. it can i do a tax reform up front. you have a process of tax reform and i want to make the point that in some of the entitlement areas, particularly health care, medicare, medicaid and social security, the same is true. the weakness of the bowles- severson plan is some of the medicare proposals have serious problems and many injured people in the lower part of a scale. there were thrown together at the end of the day. for a variety of reasons, the
optimal package is at the same point you have x months to produce tax reform and a parallel track, you do the entitlement changes. you have targets for them, too. not only is it better to get designed entitlement changes, what we really want a is to knit the -- what we really want is to knit the pieces together. the democrats and i get the revenue increases of less -- do not get the revenue increases, as the entitlement changes. >> i would like to say that i hate to find myself agreeing with bob. it is going to tarnish my reputation. but i think he is dead right. i think taxes and entitlements have got to walk hand in hand. they are the whole essence of the problem. democrats defending
entitlements, republicans defending no tax increases. what ever has to be done, they have to be done together. with respect to the question, i am with alice and ron. i believe we're going to have a divided government. no way the republicans can win everything plus 13 seats in the senate. and that is the best way. we still have to have both parties. in this country -- to have never been able to do much unless you have both parties cooperating at least minimally. >> i think it is an interesting question whether to buy -- to divide a garment or -- a divided work.ment ocan they can blame the other side
for those items. it is interesting to think about unified government and whether that would work. the attractive thing is there is accountability. and somebody is responsible for this and if the republicans sweep the white house and congress, they have to do something about it. if you look at countries that have elementary systems, there are more adept at dealing with these issues than we are precisely because there is some parties in charge and if they screw up the get voted out. i do not know. i think mainly what it takes is policymakers that want to act like adults and solve the problem. i am not sure whether that is bipartisan. >> next question. all the way on the other end. go back four rows.
>> a question for mr. greenstein. the others can answer. i would like to hear your thoughts about whether the senate democratic leadership could keep all their members in line come december. i am thinking of senate democrats from red states who might be up for reelection in 2014 to agree to allow the cliff to expire then they have to go home and tell their constituents, your taxes are going up but do not worry, we will fix this. i would like to hear the other end of the conversation from the constituents. in particular, with moderate democrats, i wonder about the moderate democrats in red- leaning states who might but -- be up for reelection, whether they would agree to that.
>> there is to aspects. first there is an issue for both parties, right? republicans go home and the question can be, why did you -- this is the line. why did you block the extension of the old tax cuts -- middle- class tax cuts so people could have an average tax cut. there is a line here that you can see the script of what each party's line would be trying to blame the other. do i think there would be some democrats who would be nervous about that? yes. i am not sure that the number does not go down after the election. you have some people who may be nervous before november 6, more than they are nervous after. either they won or loss. it is not as big a risk before as it is after. i think the question would be --
have a bigger relevance if the democrats had a potential if they held onto every vote to passing their proposal. they do not because it will take 60 votes. i need to see the democrats of the senate able to get 60 votes or extending the tax cuts without the income, nor do i see republicans. nothing passes the senate. if so many democrats got nervous that what the house passed got 60 votes in the senate, the president would veto. as he said last monday. he would have one-third plus some margin in both houses. i do not think that factor in affairs this approach and the strategy and what it underscores his basically in the absence of
a bipartisan deal, you cannot pass anything. >> one more question. right here. >> my understanding is the fiscal cliff would not completely eliminate the deficit in 2013 and if it did not, we're going to hit the debt ceiling that year at some point. later on but at some point in which case it brings back the dynamics of the republicans negotiating over another extension. we did not comment on that a whole lot. i was wondering your thoughts and whether the democrats are prepared to watch the republicans tried to drive the country over that muchier a cliff. >> you are sming the lost so you get to go. >> after you. >> i like your smile better. >> i have no idea.
i hope that the republicans to think it is a good idea to fuss with the debt ceiling will mature a bit over the years and have learned something from their experiences in the past, that is not a good way to enforce any kind of economic or budget discipline. you are dealing with the full faith and credit of the united states. nobody should want to see that even threatened. >> if and when there is an initial bipartisan from work a deal, whether it be as we all hope, in december, whether it is january, it is hard to believe that such a deal would not have a modest extension. we have been talking about the fact that the first bill was a
framework bill and then you add tax reform and potentially entitlement changes that are to date certain.uced by it as part of a first framework, it is extended so it expires at the same time you're supposed to pass the entire line and package changes and if congress fails to make good on those, you're hitting another limit. if you make good on those, legislation that raises revenue and reduces projected in talmadge spending is moving forward some time later in 2013. presumably that legislation has another extension of the debt limit in it. the debt limit gets tied into all these other things and is not totally divorced from that. >> if you do not want bob greenstein to have the last word, you had better speak out
bernanke presents his monetary policy report to congress. he is before the senate banking committee at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span. also, on c-span3, the senate energy committee looks at the grid's vulnerability to cyber attack. the director of the middle east center at the university of oklahoma says the u.s. should not get involved in syria. speaking at the wilson center, he outlined his concerns and also described the factions that oppose syrian president assad. this is one hour. >> iun the middle east program for the center. it is the great pleasure to welcome all of you and our
speaker from the university of oklahoma. he is at the center for middle east studies and with a daily newsletter and syria. i have known the professor for a long time. we first met when i was teaching at princeton. he was a grad student and working on syria. he has won the best teacher cries at his university, he raised over $1 million for a new chair for an iranian studies.
and held bringing the government funded -- a big flagship program to the university of oklahoma. he spent most recently since 2005 summers in syria. the last time i believe he was there was just before the revolution began. dr. landis travels frequently to washington dc. he is very much in demand. joshua, many thanks for accepting our invitation and coming. >> thank you so much. your very kind. ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to be here at the wilson center and to talk to you today.
i would particularly like to thank haleh esfandiari, who has always been to me the model of charm and intelligence. i have two parts to this topic today. the first part is looking at the larger context, a little bit of the history, and an evolution of my own thinking about syria. the second part will deal with what should washington be doing. let me begin with the larger regional context. almost a year ago, i wrote an article -- well, seven or eight months ago i wrote an article saying the regime was doomed, but it would be long and bloody. i expected assad to be in power in 2013. and the reasons for its been doomed is that it is the last minority areas -- minoritarian regime. and it would also be long and
bloody because it is a minoritarian regime. after the first world war, we have this mishmash of the sex, classis, and urban renewal. in many ways, powers are in different states haphazard way in which many states were forced to get along and they have a hard time nation- building. it certainly describes the 11th compared to average of. -- to africa. in the 11th -- delavan to, all minorities enabled them to take power. in lebanon, you had those who
were privileged over the rest. and the civil war for 15 years was about unseating that power by the muslims. it was about many other things, too. i am oversimplifying, but it was long and bloody because the minority did not want to give up power. and they still do not want to end the different sects sit across the divide and stare at each other. in iraq, the minority rolled over the majority shi'ites. america intervene and put the shi'ites at the top and flung the sunnis down at the bottom. america left the power-sharing
arrangement when it left, and that is being dismantled by the machine -- the shiite majority, and maliki. and the sunnis are fighting back and there are car bombs the door of every single day where the death toll is almost as high as it is in syria. excuse me, haleh. [unintelligible] casting down the minority is a long and bloody process. we can take israel. the jews were 30% when the british left. of course, the muslims thought they would be able to take over palestine and they went to war. they lost. we know how that ended for them, and the jews were able to
another, and they solve their problem -- were able to been gathered and they saw their problem by becoming the majority. now things are cramped. the palestinians still do not like it. they want a hug of that land, but that is the long and bloody. it is in some ways a zero sum game. people in the region have not figure out how to rule happily and share power happily. not in iraq, not in lebanon, not in palestine. the question is, how do they do it in syria? those in power there were not put into power by the french, but there were over recorded like mad by the army. and by 1956, we believe there were 65% of the noncommissioned officers in the army were allied. eventually, they became the majority of the officers.
they were able to achieve a majority and in a to take power. the last coup was 1970 when the assad family took over. the minoritarian element is a strength of the regime. it is a weakness, but also a strength in many ways. unlike mubarak in egypt, who allowed his children to go off and become international bankers and make money, the assad's have been preparing for this and
they have put their sons in the military. they are prepared. every major industry that is important, and particularly the security apparatus is dominated by family. in contrast to what happened in iraq, the assad's i understood that syria was not a nation in some ways. they went for family values. they understood it would take a village to rule syria. they relied on traditional loyalties. they are plugged into every major security. then they use tried and village affiliations -- tried and village affiliations, and ultimately the different sects. at the core of the success of the assad's was making the alliance with a series. that has unraveled only recently with defections at high
levels. there are other logics going on, but at heart, it is sectarian and that is driving this. the sunnis are slowly abandoning the regime and the minority that is left is being stripped down to the basic core of these traditional loyalties prevent when they are completely stripped down, the regime will fall precipitously. but it will take time. and frankly, they are frightened. there their backs to the walls and they have nowhere to go. they're going to fight. like the christians and lebanon, like the palestinians. like the sunnis. they do not know what the alternative is and they have convinced themselves they face a bleak future. that is why no major minority figures from inside syria have defected so far. that may come, but it has not
yet. assad's success was that he relied on traditional values, and he solved a major problem, which was that it had become a banana republic. and syria had about 20 successful -- 20 different crews, some successful, some unsuccessful many say is our fault that he is -- is of saud's -- is assad's fault they're not a nation today. and he has destroyed government in many ways. and in some ways that is true. syria was democratic. there were elections in 43, 47, and in the 1950's. it went not perfectly, but well. the first utah -- the first coup d'etat was similar to today. the president faced a crisis in
government history. after the 48 war in palestine, which syria lost, he faced a crisis in his government. everybody was demonstrating in the street. not unlike the beginning of the arab spring. all political parties and the democratic life, which was quite lively but, they wanted a new government. the leader faced a dilemma and he could have solved the dilemma through politics. which would have been a unity government. at allow the people's party to form a government. he would not allow it.
he thought they were traitors. and he said so to the person he made prime minister, which -- who wrote about that in his memoirs. he believes that they wanted to unite with iraq and become a greater syria. and he wanted to unite with egypt and the other arabs. you get this major split down the center of syria. and each political party thought the others were traitors and not nationalists, because they were going out of the country and making deals with foreigners. not foreigners, other arabs. syria was grew up politically, to put it short. he refused -- syria was screwed up politically, to put it short. he refused, majora role and he put the army on the street to break -- he refused to allow majority rule and he put the army on the street to break the heads of the demonstrators.
the first coup d'etat was carried off, and that was the failure of democratic politics in syria because the major parties could not compromise. that has repeated itself over and over again in syria until the assad's, took over through military might. even the closest intimates of the former leader said he constantly made them fight each other. they complained bitterly that he did not trust the party or the program. today, we look at the syrian opposition, we see the same traits being played out over and pick over again. in america, we said we well -- we will get this council up and we will unify them and we will have something to replace assad with.
that, of course, is the greatest danger in the policy side of things. there are also very important class divisions, rural divisions. the opposition was always week. let me turn now -- those are the major problems that syria has faced. and with this uprising, the assad regime has failed. it will never be able to put syria back together again. all of the numbers have gone the wrong direction. economic failure, terrible. the youth mold, terrible. the growing property rate -- the un statistics were 30. poverty rate is creeping up to 32. poverty means $2 a day or less.
egypt is 40. yemen is even higher. there are some terrible statistics out there for a party. the lower classes were being hammered. and with the population explosion, the authoritarian system under assad was designed for 7 million, 8 million people. socialism, the authoritarian bargained, take away the freedom of the people, but they have jobs. they have some security. subsidize basic products. and give them security. that was the slogan. and that work. until zero -- syria and iran out of water. as their became more and more people -- syria ran out of water. and as there became more and more people, they could not take care of them all. the upper class got rich, but most of syrians suffered. this country was waiting to explode. assad did not have any answers, and he refused to really open up the system.
he kept his father's model, which is to keep a few intimate around him, the people who are loyal, and to disregard the rest. and he had the option when he first came to power of rescinding the death threats of the huge muslim brotherhood, to try to draw the mint and reach a compromise. but he was frightened. and we saw this -- to draw them in and reach a compromise. but he was frightened. and we saw this recently in a wikileaks video. he says in an e-mail, we cannot discuss -- we cannot do this because the muslim extremists
will get power at the local level and then they will want power up the center. and this froze him, because he saw his people as extremists, many of them, and he refused to broaden the halls of power. this was the narrow nessun of the regime, very brittle, and refusing to reach out. -- the narrowness of the regime, very brittle, and refusing to reach out. it read a lot of dangers for america to just waltz in and try to -- it created a lot of dangers for america to just waltz in and try to fix it. our current policy toward syria, i think, is the smart policy. the question is, when is that no longer a smart policy? the reason why it has been a smart policy -- and our road in an article not long ago -- i wrote in an article lot of ago for america to stay out of syria. it is not good for us to be
nation-building. we have seen is in iraq and afghanistan. syria is not an easier country. it has the same divisions. and the minority in power are only 12%. and the sunni arabs are 70% of syria. there are 10% other minorities. the christians are said to be 10%, but they are more likely close to 5%. their numbers have been falling pretty precipitously. not good at nation-building, the u.s. is ready or active in the arab world. democracy is unlikely to be produced in syria anytime soon. the only two things that social scientists agree on as indicators of democracy promotion are fairly old populations, over 30 or over gives you in more than 50% chance of locking in a
democracy. syria is 21. the only other places that are younger, gaza strip and yemen. trees yet is 30. egypt is even older because -- tunisia is 30. egypt is even older because they had a good family care in place. and then wealth, syria per- capita gdp is about 3.2000 a year. -- 320,000 a year. democracy is unlikely and expensive to rebuild. the syrian opposition ask for $12 billion in startup funds once they breeze -- they defeat the regime. but that would be tiddlywinks. we are spending over $4 billion a month in afghanistan. we were spending up to $7
billion in iraq at its height. americans are broke. they do not want to get into this kind of thing, if we get sucked in. but the most important thing is there is no nation, really. people get mad at me for saying no nation. i'm not saying there is no bond between syria. but there is not a tradition of unified leadership. and there certainly has not been a unified leadership produced out of the opposition. that is dangerous for america. if you waltz in and destroy the regime and you decapitate it as you did in iraq, the death could go up. the major argument for doing
this, other than the strategic interests and hurting iran is the humanitarian argument. you go in and you will stop the killing. and what happens if the killing goes up? it did in iraq. once we destroyed the regime, the death rate went up because civil war started. will america defend going into syria to stop the civil war, or will they just turn their back on syria if there is no government? that is the danger of getting sucked in. is america prepared to interpret -- intervene? in a perverse sense, war is a nation-building process. there is an organic process to struggling against your enemy, the assad regime, that brings people together. you look at the major nation
builders of the new middle east, whether it is ataturk, saudi arabia, iran or even in israel, almost all of them were out war for 10 years before they became leaders of their countries. they became national figures because they defeated, because they unified their country, and they produced an army that would back them up. they became heroes. in syria, there is no person like that. there may emerge out of this battle -- one would hope that if you give assyrians time, a leadership will -- you if you give the syrians time, a leadership will emerge. you have all of these new committees that are being formed.
you've got the coordinating committee, exiled groups, all eight committees. a new civil society is the merging and not just in villages, but between villages and towns, and internationally. and that takes times. that will produce differing leaders. there are over 100 militias organized in syria. they are not cooperating. there is no central command. maybe that will emerge. of course, the danger is that they will not emerge, that assad will kill them, that this war will be very destructive. and rather being and -- an organic process for building, it is an organic process for destruction. that is what many fear. all that is why they are asking for intervention. but i'm jumping ahead of myself. those are the dangers. it's that we cannot do this well and we do not know how to do it.
and there is logic to allowing syrians to build a new nation out of this process of fighting, and that good leaders will emerge because they will be successful on the battleground, and it will make alliances, and those malicious " eventually get some -- of those 100 malicious will get melded into one. and then when they defeat assad, there will not be chaos, like there was in iraq. there will be a government in waiting. and a national military making sure there is not wholesale looting and that people do not do bad things. that would be the ideal. and i would be the rationale for the obama policy -- that would be the rationale for the obama policy.
there are other rationales for it, of course, like he does not want to be george bush. multilateralism. the russians said no, you do not want to go into afghanistan. many people would say it was stupid that we did that. we should have said come out too bad, we cannot go into iraq. america would have been better off. and you could have -- you can make a lot of arguments that america should not have taken leadership. we would not have got ourselves into $2 trillion worth of expenses that turned out to be not so good for america. there are other reasons for arguing to stay out. let me wind down by saying i was very strong on staying out.
many of my closest syrian friends, even those who are of the minority ruling party, are saying this is terrible. assad is a loser. he has lost. he is going to lose. he is destroying the country. look at how many refugees there are. outside, but also internally. those lives will be destroyed. it will be hard to put them back together again. the damage to the cities, to the towns, to the people is immense and it is going to get worse. and russia and iran is still backing them, and that is partly because america is prevaricating. they argue, send a cruise missile into the palace. finish it. the place could collapse like a house of cards. assad will begin to deal and understand that we mean business and the whole thing will come tumbling down. the problem with that is that it is wishful thinking. what if it does not happen that
way? you get sucked in -- you get sucked in and then you have to bomb military headquarters and you begin destroying a lot. where did that and it? that was the argument in iraq. we will just talk them and the place will fall apart and we will emerge happy. i am very turk -- very torn. i was a big advocate of non- intervention. i still believe the opposition is getting stronger every month. americans are providing help. the saudis are providing help. although there does not seem to be enough arms for the opposition. we have seen recently. we have seen articles about success stories, success stories -- today in the "washington
post" there was an article about a town that has been living under opposition role very happily with christians and muslims. there is another article about libya. there was an election and yes, it is a chaotic country, but the worst has not happened. maybe decapitation can work. the trouble with syria, it is a much bigger country. it has problems that others do not have along sectarian lines. diyala -- the leadership has not emerged in alternative leadership. the opposition has been getting stronger. you could say, just be patient, give the opposition of little bit more help, but they can do it. the fighting has now gotten to damascus the last few nights and in damascus, there has been a lot of fighting, all around the outskirts. so far, this battle has been one of the angry young men in the
countryside. it started with the poor countryside areas that are known for their poverty, because they are the ones that syria has failed the most. the opera glasses have not joined in, really. but increasingly, they are defecting. increasingly, the fight is moving into the cities and when it does, this regime will be overwhelmed. i will end by saying the argument for staying out, for not getting sucked in our very strong. i think they are still compelling. i think the opposition is getting stronger every month. the trouble is, the regime is becoming more violent. it still has support from russia and from iran. and that is allowing assad to believe that he can weather this and defeat it.
the levels of violence are getting more and more horrifying at some point, you have to ask where the tipping point is. i'm not sure we have arrived there. it seems clear we are going to stay out of this for the next several months. and hopefully, we will see the opposition unify and beginning to develop a leadership with a better command and control, so that they will be able to do this on their own. thank you very much. [applause] >> we are going to open the floor to your questions. we will not take any comments. we will just take questions. there was -- there will be an overflow on the floor and we will take comments then.
just wait for the microphone. yes, thank you. >> barbarous flavins from the atlantic council. -- barbara slaven from the atlantic's council. obviously, obama does not want to get involved until after the elections, but life could intervene. what if the regime uses chemical weapons against its own people? we have seen reports that they are moving chemical weapons around. if there is a mass atrocity, what should the response be and what would the response be? >> obviously, public sentiment drives policy to a certain degree. these would create a groundswell of sympathy and horror at what the regime is doing. it is already quite developed. can america improve the situation? this is really unknown.
if you do send a cruise missile into his palace and begin to hunt him down like you did gaddafi and altman to kill him, how long will that take? -- and ultimately kill him, how long will that take? and then the big question is, does the death rate go up? if it does, then we can say, we have achieved our strategic goal, which is to hurt iran, and we can go home now. that is a little bit like what we have done in other places. that would be my fear.
i do not know if america has the staying power. the regime is going to ration out violence. it is going to come. i do not know if it will be chemical weapons. i doubt that. but who knows? the levels of violence get worse all the time and it is clear that assad is increasingly living in this little world where he is convinced that everybody is an extremist and he is standing for good. you know, i rose in the desert. -- a rose in the desert. >> we are taking quick questions here. and also an overflow. is there any evidence -- christians and other religions are growing supportive of the fnc after a change in its leadership. >> the minority in general has been supportive of assad and they are fearful of others.
i think many christians believe this regime can only so trouble from now on in. they are only hurting everybody in syria because there is no way for them to win. the longer they stay and syria is prevented from trying to get on with the next step, the more damage will be done. i do not think the druse and the christians are going to be. of course, they're worried about their way of life, but their way of life under the assad regime is going to change. syria has changed. syria is never going to go back to those days. it is very hard for anybody to get used to the notion that life is going to change. and syria will go straight time
of chaos. many more people of today of minorities are embracing the fact that it will have to go through that time and it is better to get on with it. i know many in the minority ruling party that have talked to me about the notion that something needs to be done, you know, internal intervention. >> can you tell us a little bit about the support that the iranians provide for the syrians? the ruians, we kw ere they stand. but the iranians, what kind of support todaprovide? >> it is very secretive. i do not really know. but we have read the articles about the billions of dollars that iran gives, but i do not think people know what the aid is. it is clear that iran
understands that it is under attack not only by america, but the sunni major states, saudi arabia and the gulf. and it sees syria as the cutting edge of a defense against this larger onslaught. and the west sees syria as the weak point for iran. if they can take down syria, then they can get iran. and our policy is a regime change in iran, as it is in syria. i think there is a big fear of this domino effect that iran sees, that they will be targeted once syria goes down. and i think russia and china believe the same thing. i do not think syria is that important for either country. what they do see is iran cosseting their afterwards. and for china, 20% of their energy comes from iran and they have invested billions there. they see this as a great factor of instability. if america has its way with syria, this will keep a dynamic that is bad for china. i was in china not too long ago
on an east/west confab of energy think and i was shocked at the number of diplomats who turned to us and said, why are you pursuing this anti-chinese policy? we are trying to lift hundreds of millions of chinese out of desperate poverty into the middle class and we need energy to do it. our entire economic miracle is fuelled on energy that has come from the gulf. new up put sanctions on it -- from libya -- put sanctions o libya, sudan, every major country that we get oil from. this raises the price of oil and it will cause our economic merkel to slow down.
and that is hurting chinese people. we immediately turned to the chinese and said, we are the good guys and you are the bad guys. you are immoral and we are trying to help the good people in the middle east and heard the bad people. you are doing the opposite. and obviously, you have two different views of morality. they're concerned about helping the chinese and we are concerned with helping middle eastern people. maybe that is not quite the way it is, but we had to have it, this argument over who is more moral. and our intentions are good. and the chinese were clear, they see this as anti chinese policy. and i think that is what they believe. and i think syria is at the cutting edge of what they see is a larger position in the middle east that will be undermined by american action. iran is clearly at the front end of that, and they see syria and they have convinced themselves that syria is very
important to them, and they will subsidize it. syria had about $18 billion in reserves 16 months ago. nobody ever saw it, but that must have run out. they are still paying salaries. they are still paying the military. they are still paying some subsidies. it is unclear where they are getting this money from. it is going to be turning to iran. that is the main place iran is supporting. there has been all this talk about hezbollah and soldiers. i do not think that is true. but i think they are helping in whatever way they can without putting soldiers on the ground. >> away in the back. please, be very brief in your questions. >> good to see you, and good to hear that you are thinking assad is going down. like any other government, when
a dictatorial regime existed, when it collapses, it is going down, by a intervention or not. this is a counter argument for being used to prevent another invasion. a successful election has just taken place in libya. >> whatever side you are on, i want to defect to it. muhammed was a refugee placed in the oklahoma city. , and friends of ours called me up and said, can you help the guy, -- some common friend ours called me up and said, can you help the guy? he is in oklahoma city. [laughter] i guess that was grounds for
handing out. -- for him needing help. i saw him a number of times. i'm glad that you done so well. i have always been on your side. yes, i know the arguments, the no-fly zone, and just a few well guided cruise missiles. the libyan model. hund the guy down and kill him, and it will be over. -- hunt the guy down and kill him, and it will be over. we will do the rest. you just do not know what is going to happen. that is the trouble. and clearly, america feels for.
obama feels like he's got other things to do. america is tired of nation- building. and it feels like a fool's errand. and what is more, hillary clinton keeps on saying, we are winning. strategically, everybody in washington believes we will get to fill our goals. i think everybody in the opposition believes they are winning. they say, every month we are getting stronger. there is no compelling interest to intervene. you can give them better intelligence and do things like that. of course, our policy is to starve the regime through sanctions, and to feed the opposition with money and arms. and we are doing that. you try to moderate that by squeezing harder with more and more sanctions, which is what america is trying to do, and we are trying to shame rush into doing so as well. and then get better intelligence. in libya, it is different. you do not want syria to be liked iraq and afghanistan. it is possible that it could fall quickly, the regime, and
new leadership could happen very quickly. many are saying, they're winning anyway, so let the syrians d do the heavy lifting. and in fact, going slow has certain benefits, which i outlined. it is an organic process. you cannot hurry it along. the syrians are very divided. you were there at one point and you don't it. presumably, because you did not like what was happening there. i could turn to you and say, look, make me a believer, unite, get along. do not disagree over the most fundamental things. like, how much islam are going to have come are outsiders brabant -- how much islam are we going to have? are outsiders bad? >> a question from the overflow, the red cross and the civil war this weekend, what is the implication?
>> people have been announcing civil war for a long time. i think syria is in a civil war in many ways. it is not an even civil war. increasingly, it is going to be the minority ruling party against the rest. it is not there yet, but it will eve of in that direction. i guess, the implications are legalistic implications before taking people to world court and so forth, because crimes against humanity -- i do not really understand all of the legal things. but there are legal ramifications. you can take people for crimes against humanity more easily if it is seen as a civil war and there is no recognized
government. >> identify yourself. >> my name is mohammed. i am syrian, from damascus. a very brief question -- how do you explain the 10% or 8% christian population. at the beginning of the century there was a muslim leader that they protested for. our knowledge is subjective. you think that you are married to a woman who belongs to that sector influences your thinking in any way? >> let me take the second part of the question. [laughter] i am married to an alueitte. my father went to syria as a young man appeared he -- there was no education when my grandfather built the for
school. at the age of fourth grade he was able to begin school. and he got into the navy, which is white -- which is what they did. he graduated in alexandria. there was no naval academy in syria. and it was unification. he was a nationalist, and has been ever since. he retired about 20 some odd years ago. and has been pretty much in active, drinking tea on the balcony since then, because there is no role for people who
are retired in syria. and there is not much civil society, even in the minority areas. mdot been married to a woman of that minority influences me. i know them. i understand them. but my ideas about syria were formed really, before that. they were formed from growing up in beirut, and from living and teaching in beirut during the civil war. when i watched christians and muslims kill each other in big numbers, and people who were very sophisticated. then i watched the iraq war. and everybody said, just not of the regime and it will all be good. everybody will get along. it did not happen. and my first year living in syria was in 1981-'82. i live in the dormitories at the
university of damascus. i watched syrians -- every room in my dormitory was/sec. there was a true 0 -- and we talked about -- this was a druze room and we would talk about that. people would come and visit from the different sects, but they would change the conversation. if a particular set came into the ramat it would change the conversation. that is what made me so worried about syria. yes, this regime -- there was never any illusion that it was ruled by force. and assad threatened to turn sarratt into 100 afghanistans if he was taken down -- turn syria into 100 afghanistans if he was taken down. and syria is paying an incredible price for it.
i did not have illusions about it being a very hard landing. the first article i wrote in the beginning of april last year was "there is no soft landing for syria." and my second was "deeply sectarian regime. shahram most of my -- "deeply sectarian regime." and most of my friends attacked me for this. and you are my friends. and i still love you. but they could not believe that there are a society where sectarian. clearly, i do feel for the ruling minority. and i understand them. you want to avoid having lived through lebanon, having watched
iraq, the hope is that syria can somehow avoid this kind of destruction to society. i was fearful. i was a coward. and the minority have had the -- their foot on the necks of the majority. there is no denying that. you -- it is not that i'm married to a woman of the ruling minority, although i'm sure that has made me more sensitive to minorities, i suppose. but it has also made me more pessimistic about the future of syria. that is what made me so tentative to jump in. i wrote my dissertation, and most of my riding is on this, and i saw how the golden vision of syria as a nation with democratic until the ruling minority came along and roy it. it was not like that. mr. news reported for its -- came along and ruined it. it was not like that. the sunnis are ruined it for themselves first. there is not a syria like that
that is waiting to come back. this underlying sense of pessimism under -- over iraq and lebanon and syria is what may be hesitant to jump in. >> no follow-up. nothing. >> i will get it afterwards. >> there is a question from the overflow. where does al qaeda stand in syria? >> al qaeda will try to make as much hay as they can in syria. no doubt about it. in iraq, everybody said that everybody who attacked him was
al qaeda appeared and assad is sang the same thing. he is not the original. there are al qaeda in syria, i do not doubt it. but they are not a dominant factor. many people said, if we went in and intervene, there will be no al qaeda because syria is going to get radicalized. i think the syrians will find their justice in time. our major intellectual argument for going into iraq was democracy. it would not stop any of that and we did not create democracy. a lot of people are trying to use it as a reason not to get involved in syria. i do not think that should be a leading reason for making your
to regulations on syria. >> my question was answered. the cracks in the back. >> -- >> in the back. >> what are turkeys goals in this crisis? and are they likely to be realized? >> i think they are going for a big education on syria. i think they knew very little when it started out. and they're one -- they'reerdouin's get reactions have been very good. he wants to shift power from the south in the gulf of to the north and the middle east, and have turkey be in the center. and that is what he was doing very successfully. syria and screwed it up by getting into this terrible arab spring. he went down to try to talk to assad and it did not work.
he got mad and he had to decide -- he had to side with democracy, and the same way that america has to side with democracy when push comes to shove, because it is the national religion. but once he got his feet in, he realize how dangerous it is. that is what all of the neighbors have been doing. indeed kkk is -- the kkk is still a very powerful party there and many are worried that turkey will gain influence in syria. the minority ruling party in syria, they are shiites who tend to sympathize with the shiite regime. entering in directly into syria, you would at open up sectarian issues in your own country. it is a lose/lose for turkey. they can only get more kurdish problems, more sectarian problems, and it will lose their money. that is why they said they would come in behind america, but they will not go in first because it is a swamp.
>> very brief questions. >> i come from a christian background. if we live -- leave the united states not to support some groups there, but we will support islamic extremists in the country -- the people there are very secular and very diverse. by having the west outside open up things for groups that do not have any support in syria. >> i think america is trying to pick winners. if they do not have any support, then there will not be any support.
this is one of the difficult problems. we did what we did in syria and afghanistan in the 1980's, which is to go 50/50 with the saudis, do a sort of sharing program of funding the prejean to bring down a regime we do not like. we have not given them stingray missiles yet, but maybe we could get there. the al qaeda question is important, and the sense that it does cover in the thinking of how america will do it. and the cia has clearly been sent to syria to say, do not let in as honest extremists. we've got -- islamic extremists. we've got to pick some winners. clinton announced that all funding would go to the syrian
national council and that saudi arabia had agreed to do that. which would mean that america would be able to pick the winners, and it would not go straight to the muslim brotherhood or to those that sell arabia might like to fund. that broke down because syrian national council had its heart attack and jettisoned -- everybody attacked the kurds and they all began to stab each other. america's plan fell apart in its hands. the weapons are not getting in the numbers they hoped. i do not know where saudia arabia is on this. they have talked about having a tag team group that would make policy but i think that policy is probably not coming together the way america wants, which is leaving the door is open for people to fund who they want to. which is what america was worried about in the beginning.
so that is a concern. christians are going to worry about that. assad is a loser. he will make syria worse in the short term. he is going to kill lots of people, he will destroy the place and he will not be there eventually. he will lose. then where does that leave the questions? the christians are going to deal with muslims and they will deal with some islamists and syria will be much more islamic then it is today. we have seen it in egypt, tunisia, all over. syria's will have to suck it up. i mean, the christians will have to suck it up. they will have to decide if they can live in a new syria. they have always stood for the opposite and that they will not be saudia arabia. they will not be iran. they will be more like turkey.
even if they are not turkey, they will be more like turkey and the questions will be respected as they are. everyone sees questions as successful. they are angry at them because you name yourselves john and other western names and they attack you for not being arab enough. if you can stand that, i do not think it will be so bad. they either kill the armenians or kick them out and a lot of serious questions have already gone through one expulsion. they are fighting for good reason. he got to be democratic and was able to win elections and the
democracy because there were no questions. if there had been 20% christians, he would not have succeeded. i do not know if that is exactly true but you can see it. syria has that problem because there are alawites and christians and others who are frightened of is lummis. they have a reason to be frightened. look at what happened. this century has been hard for christians in the middle east. but what can you do? christians will have to make their bed with a new syria. it is better to do it faster than slower. >> we have run out of time. please join me in thanking dr. landis. [applause] >> thank you very much.
and thank the woodrow wilson center. >> president obama campaigns in ohio. then more about this year's election with the christian broadcasting network and david brody. on "washington journal" tomorrow morning, bloomberg news staff writer lisa lerer will take questions about bain capital. and then the heritage foundation. we will discuss entrepreneurship in america with the new america foundation. "washington journal" is live on c-span every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. >> there has been hostility. since the war on poverty, lyndon johnson was the best
president that looked at poverty issues and spent money on it and talked about the social service programs. let's follow that by richard nixon, the father of minority business development. inside his minority business administration and development agency, they used the term economic justice. the former president of bennett college for women writes and comments on politics, education and african american economic history. sunday on august 5 at noon, your questions, calls and e-mails for the author of "surviving and thriving." in depth, august on "book tv." president obama campaigned in ohio on monday. he focused on middle-class tax
cuts during a town hall meeting in cincinnati. this is a little more than an hour. >> hello, cincinnati. it is good to be back. everybody please have a seat, if you have a seat. i think most people have a seat here. it is great to see all of you. i want to acknowledge, i want to make sure that i acknowledge your outstanding mayor in the house. [applause] he is around here somewhere. there he is right there. good to see you. i know that some of you think that i came to this music hall
to sing. [laughter] [cheers] but i have to tell you, there is no concert tonight. or least not this afternoon. there may be a concert tonight. michelle has told me i should not be singing in public all the time. [laughter] happy birthday? should we -- what is your name? adam? how old are you? let's sing happy birthday to adam. happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear adam. happy birthday to you. [applause]
so, there was a concert after all. there you go. what's your name, sir? okay. but not your birthday, congratulations on being 101. [applause] he looks good. i have to follow him around and see what he eats. i will eat what he eats. you guys -- 105 right here. [applause] [laughter] what is that sweet ladies name? margaret harris is 105 years
old. 106 next month. she is beautiful. i guess folks do pretty good down here in cincinnati. [applause] you have 105, 101. okay. god bless you. we love you, too. anybody else over 100? you are not over 100. all right, no more birthdays. that's it. no, i am not going to sing. no al green. today, we are turning this
beautiful music call into a town hall. so i am not going to take too much time up front. i want to spend as much time as possible answering some of your questions and getting your comments. but i do want to say a few things about what is at stake here. four years ago, we came together -- democrats, republicans and independents, who were interested in restoring the basic bargain that made america the greatest nation on earth. we have so much to be thankful for. an incredible land, military, our men and women in uniform. there is always a great wealth in this nation by what really -- but really sets us apart has always been that we have the greatest middle-class and a basic idea that says if you work hard, then you can get ahead.
if you are responsible, then you can live out your dreams. you are not confined to the circumstances of your birth. a basic belief that if you are doing what you need to duke, because we are not a country that believes in handouts. we believe in working for what we get. you are able to find a job that supports the family. you can get a home that you call your own. that you are able to send your kids to get a good education and hopefully a lot of them go to college and they can achieve and succeed in ways he may not have imagined. that you will not go bankrupt when you get sick. that you will be able to retire with dignity and respect. [applause] that is the idea that built this country.
that is the idea that turned us into an economic powerhouse. and what we saw for about a decade before i took office was that dream was slipping away from too many people. people were working harder but they were getting less. incomes and wages were flat landing while the cost of everything from college to health care to groceries to gas or all going up. our goal was to turn this around and we knew it would not be easy. we knew that it might take more than one term, maybe more than one president but we knew that we have to get started to reclaim this dream. then what we discovered was that because of irresponsibility, because of economic policies that have failed, and the lack of
oversight when it came to regulation, we inherited the worst financial crisis and the worst economic crisis since the great depression. millions of people were hurt. lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost their savings. and a lot of folks are still struggling. but here is the thing -- americans are tougher during tough times. this crisis had not changed our character. it has not changed what we believe it in. it has not changed that basic notion that everybody should get a fair shot and everybody should do their fair share and play by the same set of rules. [applause] even though over the last three and a half years our central
focus has been how do we recover from this crisis and get people back to work and make sure that small businesses are doing well again and that they are getting financing, despite those things, our goal has not been just to get back to where we were before the crisis but rather to build an economy that lasts. to build an economy that says no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name is, you can make it if you try here in america. [applause] everything i have done since i had been president has been focused on this central issue. that is the reason i am running for a second term as president of the united states. [applause] [applause]
part of the reason i am here today -- i want to remind everybody that the challenges we face are solvable. the problem is not a lack of big ideas, it is not a lack of technical solutions to policy issues. the problem is we have a stalemate in washington between two fundamentally different ideas about how we move the country forward. this election is about more than just two candidates or to political parties. it is about two different visions about how do we build a strong economy? and the good news is coming here you are the tiebreaker. the choice is up to you. governor romney and his allies
in congress, they believe in an economic theory that says folks at the very top are doing while then that spread everybody else. it is what we call top down economics. so right now, their main prescription for growing the economy faster is an additional $5 trillion of tax cuts, most of which would go to the wealthiest americans, even if to pay for it you would have to gut education programs.
they have a vision. good one is tax cuts. the second thing is to eliminate regulations to make sure wall street does not engage in the same reckless behavior that got us there in the first place. your i have got to tell you. good it would be one stain if they had this theory, but the truth is we tried for almost a decade, and it did not work. where vision resulted in turning surpluses and deficits. job growth was the sluggish it had been in decades.
the income for working families actually went down, and it culminated in this crisis, so i do not know about you, but sometimes i make mistakes, but when i try something but does not work, i do not try it again you do not go back to doing something that did not work. i have got a different idea. good governor romney said he would extend the tax cuts to the wealthiest americans indefinitely. the plan is not just to keep the bush tax cuts.
he wants to put another five trillion dollars. he has estimated it is almost impossible to bring down the deficit and deal with in depth. nearly 40% of the new taxes would go to the top 1% of households. we have not found any serious study that said that his plan would actually create jobs until today. today we found out there is a new study about the says his economic plan would raise 800,000 jobs. there is only one problem. the jobs would not be in america. they would be in other
countries. by eliminating taxes on foreign income, governor romney's plan would encourage companies to shift money to foreign tax havens, creating new jobs in those countries. this should not be a surprise, because his experience has been investing in and what we call pioneers of outsourcing. now he wants to give more tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas. i have got a different theory. give we do not need a president who plans on shipping more jobs overseas. i want to give tax breaks to companies but are investing right here in ohio, and i want to give incentives to companies investing in new, the american
people to create american jobs creating american goods sold around the world, made in america. that is why i am running for president of the united states. [applause] the difference extends not just to corporate taxes. it is also individual taxes. we do not need a president who is going to give himself of a tax break. four years ago promised to cut taxes for the middle class, and i kept that promise. the typical tax burden this $3,600 lower than it was when i
came in office. sometimes you will hear these crazy accusations. here are the start secure your your taxes have gone down $3,600 since i have been in office. good a couple of weeks ago i called on congress to extend these tax cut to 98% of the american people. people would not see their income tax go of it as one single dime. i should point out to 97% of small businesses also would not see their taxes go up, because they do not earn more than
$250,000. if you are fortunate enough to be the other 2%, and i am. michelle and i did not used to be, but now we are. we have been blessed. that is great. now we can afford to pay a little bit more for taxes by going back to the rates we were paying under bill clinton. reduce ourelp deficit by about one trillion dollars. everybody says the debt and deficit are important, and i agree, and i want to point out the last time we did that, when bill clinton was president, we had surpluses and not nevis -- and not the deficit. we created all lot of
millionaires and billionaires, of seacoasts when an economy is growing from the middle of -- because when an economy is growing from the middle out, everyone goes well. that is how you grow an economy. [laughter] when teachers and firefighters and police officers, construction workers, when folks who are putting in a hard day's work, when they do well, everyone does well. that is how america has always succeeded. we believe in initial -- in individual initiative and self reliance, but there are some things we do together, and growing an economy is one of them. my grandfather went to college on the gi bill. everybody did better. when we invested in the hoover
dam or the golden gate bridge, all of those things and benefited everybody, so that is the vision i want to carry forward. that is why when auto industry was on the three of collapse and governor romney said let's let it go bankrupt, i said, and one out of every five jobs in ohio depend on the auto industry. i am going to bet on american workers and american ingenuity, and now gm is back on top and chrysler and ford are on the move and the american auto industry has come back. [applause]
let me just close by saying this, and we can get to some questions. my vision says we are going to invest in education, and we are going to hire new teachers, and especially in math and science, and opened 2 million more openings for community college to get trained in jobs and businesses are hiring for right now. we already helped to make sure the student loan rates did not double, but now we have to work to lower tuition costs so young people are not burdened with debt. we are going to invest in education. we are going to invest in american anergy. we want to continue to expand our production of oil and natural gas, but i want to make sure we are the leader in-hous
biofuels. that can help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. change our tax code, invest in basic research and science, because whoever has the best technology will ultimately have the best economy. rebuilding our infrastructure. i know you have some bridges around here that need repairs. we have some roads that need repairs. let's put construction workers back to work. i ended the war in iraq as i promise. we have estimated all kind of pure a good -- decimated al qaeda. let's use of nation building at
home. [applause] >> for more years, four more years. reduce our let's deficit, reduce our debt. let's do it in a responsible way and allows us to continue to make the investments we need to continue to grow, and let's make sure everybody is doing a little bit to help not so themselves but the country. you are going to be the tie breaker. this is going to be our choice. that is how our democracy works.
there is going to be a lot of paid advertising and a lot of money. we are seeing folks tried to get me out of office. even though my hair is a little grayer, even though i am little older, i still have as much confidence as i ever have in the american people, because one of the great privileges of being president, and new meet people from every walk of life, -- you meet people from every walk of life, and i am always struck by the accord decency and hard work and responsibilities and face the american people have. , so i will always that on the
american people, and i am confident is and we work hard, and we get our message out, we have an honest debate about what needs to happen in this country and what future is best for our children and our grandchildren, and we are going to finish what we started in 2008, and we will remind the world why the united states is the greatest nation on earth. thank you 3 much, everybody. thank you. all right. everybody take a seat so i can see you who wants to ask a question, and there are only a couple of rules. rule number one, you have got to raise your hand if you have a question. i am going to colli
i am going to call -- girl, boy, girl, boy. just to make sure that it is fair. if you have a chance to stand up and introduce yourself. there are folks in the audience with microphones. wait until you have a microphone so everybody can hear your question. i want to get in as many questions as i can, at least six or seven. so if people can keep their questions short, i will try to keep my answers short. but if you ask me, you know, how do you bring about world peace, that is a big question. [laughter] so trying to keep the question one that we can be 6 think about. i am going to start with this young lady right here in the pink blouse. introduce yourself when the
microphone comes up. and is that the birthday boy? he is getting a lot of attention today. >> my name is anna, and my son is openly gay. he is grass roots and speaks for a lot of lgbt communities. we would like to know, since you are for the lgbt, what are your next steps? what are you going to do for us? [applause] >> look, let me say this -- first of all, i think the american people have seen and made such progress on recognizing the idea of equal rights, equal dignity, equal respect for everybody. that applies to everybody. [applause] that is a bedrock principle of america, and when i came into office -- everything from making sure that same-sex couples could have visitation at hospitals just like everybody else, making sure that we ended don't ask, don't tell, because fighting for the country you love should not depend on who you love. [applause] being clear that doma is something that we should repeal. across the board, i have tried to constantly align myself with
what is best in our tradition, and that is you treat everybody fairly. americans are about fairness, and that does not mean that folks have to agree with everybody on everything. we do not, you know? but we want to treat everybody fairly. now, i think it is important to recognize though that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are still subject to discrimination. that is why we passed hate crime legislation, and we have still got to fight for that. i think it is important for us to respect decisions that states make with respect to expanding treatment of same-sex couples in marriage.
but, also what i want to say is that gay and lesbian families are like everybody else. what they are also worried about right now is making sure they can pay the bills. you know, so my strong belief is that it is important for us to focus on individual issues of fairness but also recognize that we all have common interests as well. your son is 18. i am assuming he is going to get some more education. i am assuming you are worried right now about making sure he does not come out with a whole bunch of debt. >> miami. >> outstanding, congratulations. [applause] so we want to treat everybody fairly, and we also want to make sure that the economy
treats everybody fairly. and i am going to be fighting for that as long as i am president of the united states. [applause] all right, this gentleman right here. does anybody have a microphone? ok, very good. i am impressed. >> mr. president, i am jim reilly. 10 years as an elected city official has shown me a real change in with the republican party has been doing to us. they have taken away our power to protect our national -- natural resources, water and air, from the oil and gas drillers doing fracking here in ohio. the more you do and the administration to protect us from the efforts of drilling for natural gas. >> it is a great and important question. a couple things i want everybody to know. first of all, if you hear anybody say that somehow we are
impeding the development of our energy resources here in this nation, i want you to know these facts. oil production, higher than it has been in eight years. natural gas production, higher than it has been probably in our lifetimes. oil imports, actually lower than they have been in 16 years. in fact, our oil imports are less than 50% now for the first time in a very long time. so we are moving in the right direction in terms of energy independence. now, part of that is this boom in a natural gas, and this is something we should welcome, because not only are we blessed with incredible natural gas resources that are now accessible because of new technologies, but natural gas actually burns cleaner than some other fossil fuels and is an ideal fuel energy source that we potentially can use for the next 100 years.
so i want to encourage natural gas production. the key is to make sure we do it safely. and in a way that is environmentally sound. now, you always hear these arguments that somehow there is this huge contradiction between the environment and economic development or the environment and energy production. and the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of folks right now that are engaging in hydraulic fracking who are doing it safely. the problem is that we have not established clear guidelines for how to do it safely and inform the public so that neighbors know what is going on and, you know, your family, you can make sure the in your area, they're
being responsible. what we said is, look, we're going to work with industry to established best practices. we're going to invest in basic research and science required to make sure this is done safely and in a way that protects the public health. and for responsible companies, they should be able to operate, make a profit, and we can all benefit and put people back to work. but if you are and irresponsible company that is not doing the right thing, we're going to hold into account, and that is how we should develop this incredible resource, which, by the way, if we do it properly, could end up changing the economics and politics globally with energy in a way that is actually very good for us because we will be less dependent on what happens in the middle east and our economy will be less subject to the kinds of spikes we saw earlier in the spring in terms of gas prices. all right? thank you for the question. [applause] all right, it is a woman's turn. the young lady in a white t-
shirt right there. hold on, hold on. >> i and my husband small- business owners. he actually has a question that he needs answered. >> wait, no, no, you cannot do that now. i called on the young lady. that is what is called a bait and switch. [laughter] no, the rule is that i am going to make sure that women get equal time with men. [applause] >> i am not asking that --
>> well, like -- >> no, no. >> ok, his question was, he is a small business owner, and he wanted to know what you can do for the self-employed businesses with less than 10 employees working with them. >> ok, here is what i am going to do. i am going to let him go ahead and ask his question. [laughter] then i am going to call on two women in a row. [applause] we got cheated here. go ahead. >> ok. >> next time, you stand up. do not send your wife out first. [laughter] >> ok, i am tony white. hello, mr. president.
good idea for the ninth states to consider cuts to defense. this is a key factor that drove them to propose this study. the study that we did is not simply a standard paul, it is what is cause -- called a public consultation. you give people key information and they hear arguments on both sides of the issue. it is kind of like going to a debate where you consider, deliberate and come to a conclusion. what is interesting is, if you look at standard polls, it is somewhat ambiguous. the findings seem contradictory. if you ask people, do you or do not want to cut defense -- the majority do not want to cut defense.
if you bring up the deficit, maybe as many as half do. what is particularly interesting is and bowls for their given more information about the budgets, how much it is relative to other arguments, you to find majorities wanting to cut it. information seems to be a key variable. we did a study a little over a year ago. we gave people the discretionary budget and they saw how it was distributed. in that context, they made a rather substantial cuts. on average, they cut it 18%. but their comments made. they did not see all of the perspectives. they saw the perspectives of the discretionary budget. what they saw on much of a percentage of gdp, how much it is going down, how much it is
relative to social security and medicare, and most of all, what they heard the key arguments for why it is going to not cut defense, what would they do then? all of these were incorporated. these suggestions were incorporated into our design. we talked to people across the spectrum as we developed different frameworks for presenting the defense budget to people and the different arguments that were presented pro and con. the process of this is challenging. we wanted to break it down, and divide it up in ways that were meaningful. moving forward, the survey was
done with a company called knowledge networks. a unique company. it was started by two stanford professors. the sample is too long by a process, telephone and mail. and the people who do not have internet access forgiven internet access and the whole process is conducted over the internet. the has tremendous advantages. they can take as much time as they want to look at the material, to read these statements, and they can work with and the actual budget, which is what they did. it was done in april. the sample size was 665 people. the first thing we wanted to do was give them information about
the magnitude of the defense spending. there are different ways of looking at it. the discretionary budget was the first way we presented. people had seen before that seemed like a lot. they cut it substantially. but they cut defense more. the amount of defense spending for 2012, more than expected, about which you expected, less than you expected. 65% said it was more than what was expected. it is just the people tended to underestimate. we compared this to social security and medicare. this is often said to have elicited a different response. when we asked, and this case, was it more less? the new
expected 45% said it was more, 14% less. you have a more and more mixed response. most people and not surprised. we presented it historical weight. breaking up more spending in afghanistan and a rock. this number has been going down quite a lot. the economy has been growing. the largest number said it was less than they expected. then we presented defense
spending it relative to enemies and allies. we used bit as china, north korea, and iran. on the allies' side, nato, a japan, and south korea. they said it was more than they expected. the next thing we wanted to do was take them to that process that is like the debate for they can hear arguments pro and con. we have four pairs of arguments. i will briefly show you three of them. they are in the materials that we brought. we have full copies of the report. here is one qe1.
among the people we talked to, it is most often cited as a key argument. the united states should be leading the world, and not following get. this is a force that has contributed to global peace. they should be able to do this anywhere in the world. it would send the signal that we are no longer committed to our role. our allies with his confidence. the asian companies might come under china's influence. it is not mean they disagree or agree. it means how convincing do you find it? 61% found it convincing. it then we gave the other side of this frame. the united states has more military power than any other nation.
we are playing the world of policemen too much. we are building this up. we can deal with the global threats by sharing the burden. we do not have to have a military so big that we can do it all by ourselves. this was found convincing by 72%, a larger majority. i am going to skim over the other ones. national defense is the first priority. it is just 4% of the economy. it has been going down. 58% found this convincing.
democrats did this likely to the the negative side. the defense one does this. the majority found this convincing. republicans are more divided on this. it is also popular in policy cuts. we have job losses. this got the lowest number saying it was convincing. not that big. the one that got the most disagreement was the argument in favor of cutting based on the
waste in the defense budget. that got bipartisan. after going through these hearings, both sides say that makes sense. one person collects his side. then he says you are right. someone says they cannot both be right. it he says you are right. in the end they have to take some action. this was basically to set what level of defense spending they thought should occur for 2013. they could specify down to the dollar.
they had to fill it in. let's look at how many cuts kept the same level or increase. 67% of republicans and 90 server of democrat cut. they cut it 127 billion. republicans cut 83 billion. democrats, $155 billion. we also discussed the area of afghanistan. they got an explanation for what was going on. they got one pro and one con argument. here the day took quite a lot, a $35 billion or 40%. this was with democrats cutting more. then we wanted to go what if they really have to think they're all of the things that they do.
what if they really had to break it down and make their own budget? we carry the framework we thought was one that people could relate to comment air power divided into new capabilities. special operations, forces, a missile defense. for each of these areas they were introduced and got an explanation for what they were like and what it involved and then a pro and con argument on spending. i want to give you a quick example. they could maintain and operate them. they give the u.s. capability to control other targets on the ground and help protect u.s. ground forces.
planes and satellites also provide intelligence. this is not an argument. obviously, it is and that it tells you all the good things it does. we say here is the amount the u.s. is spending. for developing new capabilities, of building and testing prototypes, $30 billion. then they hear an argument against reducing power spending. it could limit our ability to strike any target in the role it played in targeting al qaeda, things like that. 77 surmount a convincing. on the other side, america's power has been the most of fans in the world. china is several decades behind. there are is coming up with more technology.
enough is enough. majority found that convincing. when we went to the areas, the argument against cutting did better than we talked about defense spending over all. in this case, the majority of republicans did not find this. after going through that process, they specified what they thought the spending level should be. i'm not going to go through all of the areas. you can see them in terms of the arguments given. summarizing what they did overall. first the changes by percentage. the biggest cut was to nuclear weapons. it was 20's term followed by a ground force.
ground forces cut 23%. naval forces that 20%. they're all cut on average except one that was new capabilities for ground forces. i imagine that has to do with wanting to protect the troops. putting it in terms of dollar amounts, the biggest cut word to existing ground forces which were cuts an average of $36 billion followed by existing air power which was cut $19 billion. dollar amounts had the capabilities and will increase approximately 1 billion. putting all these areas together they were cut on average 18%. republicans cut on average 12%. i also want to mention try care and personnel costs.
i do not want to spend a lot of time on this. the proposals are more detailed than what i am covering here. making copays, increasing premiums for retirees under 65, raising the cap for costs on retirees. they are told the dollar amounts associated with each one. making the copays more typical. a slight majority opposed. increasing premiums. a larger majority oppose raising the caps. it then we looked at a number of proposals for cutting costs related to personnel.
changing military pensions, a military wage increases. there's a lot more detail on what was presented. these did a little better. this slight majority is changing military pensions. putting it all together, the cuts to the nine different areas and the savings that came from try care and personnel costs. overall an average of $103.5 billion in cuts. republicans got $74 billion and democrats $124 billion. maybe some of those people cut a whole lot in it change the average. some cut more. what with the majority of people be willing to agree to? that is a lower number.
overall, at $83 billion were the majority specified cuts of $83 billion or more. republicans $50 billion or more. we wanted to go through specific systems to see how they felt about those. the numbers of those are the ones that were canceling. they're canceling a new aircraft carrier. 54% favored canceling the fighter. 52% work in favor of canceling the next generation bomber. a large majority oppose the idea of eliminating bombers. another interesting question is if we see all this conflict on many of these issues, are there
differences between the views of people that live in the registered and blue district's tax we invited everyone in to the sample depending on whether they lived in redder blue districts. the short answer is not much. 74% made cuts. made a little different but not much. in terms of the average change, eighteens are made cuts. there were slightly lower. interestingly when it came to military health care in a registered cut more than they did in blue districts. -- in red districts cut more
than they did in blue districts. our views different in districts where people have high levels of defense spending where it could really have some impact? wii broken down into tents. the top 10 has really big numbers it is significantly more than the others. it is vocalizes a small number of districts. basically, the short answer is no. there is a significant variance the face on this by district. you have the top tent. it had some of the highest levels of cuts, 22%.
the next one down. statistically this is just noise. there is no pattern. there is the significant variation. that top one is the one where there is really big money. this is just one number. this is just one part of the budget. there is no significant pattern. i am going to pass that over to map now. -- matt now.
>> i want to say thank you for coming. we are a project that specializes in national security spending and strategy analysis. we want to thank steven for bringing us along. my role was not someone that could take the defense appropriations and carve it up into a way that is accessible. the way you sell a subdivided were the ways that we divided it ourselves. then we divided up the pro and con statements. as well as the context statement. that work is done. this was out of the context. what does it mean?
i'm going to walk you through that. i'm going to start with the context. we started with the innovation. we can then conclude by applying this to the fy13 appropriations process. the big context i found was that preferences were similar to the pentagon strategy but stricter than the plan. both sides are similar. it is easy to focus on the cut but not notice the pattern. walking through what i feel are four examples of where that is most important. the first message to with the war in afghanistan.
this strategy is concluding the war and moving away from that type of conflict in the future. he began year and also specifically in 2014. they were consistent. they cut the contingency operation element of the budget as they saw to $53 billion. this number was $115. this was halfway between the 2011 value. 20's are below the request. this allows you to make changes in the structure. the strategy said we're not going to be cited with lean beef operations. -- cited would link the operations.
we also saw this in our survey. it was the ground force that was cut the most. this is more than because they made to the air force. more than they cut here. d.c. this being addressed. -- you see this being addressed. they downsized and move away from counterinsurgency is. there was consequences of that. they're putting more stress on that. when he testified with the release of this, they increase operations forces. he also said they were looking for between 66 and 71,000 strong respondents still cut this.
it is one of the lowest cuts they mate. they centered around this statement. they said it was more precise than their counterparts. a structure budget decision when it comes to the preference. when you prioritize something like special operations forces, and there's something else. there was a statement being made that keyed a lot of people's interest. in a possible to deter. this has been a priority. every expectation they will pursue.
this is something we agreed with. it is a 20 7% cut, the long list of all the cuts made in nuclear forces. the bottom line is that according to our survey policymakers are moving in the right track. they are doing this tentatively. it was an average cut of $104 billion. sitting out front is an op-ed i put in defense news. next is the innovation that our survey makes. respondents expressed all of these views. they responded to service shares and other budget categories, not to the strategy.
that is significant. a lot of times people will think in strategic terms. why do we do that? strategy and spending has something that is important but not absolute. this is how they engage it. there is a subtext that bureaucratic politics and in russia matters. -- inertia matters. this is an inspiration. it is not an accident that the defense budget looks like this over the past 40 years. the shares are very stable. the their stable with and their average. -- they are stable with their average. within the timeframe the united states has changed significantly. if it was total, you would expect this far more than it has.
the fact that it has not suggests that something else is going on. our hope was at their answers would be relevant to how this lays out, whether it should change or not change. our findings back that up. respondents to want this to change. they had the ground being cut by 23%. an indicator moving forward whether the preferences are being implemented and whether strategy is have this and whether this picture changes. there was a statement that our secretary made in the middle of last year saying there have been a tradition for a long time.
the army share of the budget increase. it increased more than the navy share. as you see all of these things being said, it is important to keep an eye on that. we will see whether this changes over the coming decade. we cannot take this for granted that people would differentiate between the services. that could have turned out to be ineffective. i was pleasantly surprised that they did. they had different ideas about how it should be budgeted. there is not a clear pattern between how they treat current and future spending. i was under this that they might choose to cut current spending and then maintain or increase future spending with the idea of there being a hedge.
we needed to be able to manage things in the future. there was not a pattern that i observed at all. also, i was surprised at how they did not have significantly different opinions than those elsewhere in the spectrum. they caught me off-guard. applying it to the 2013 cycle, i was not surprised to see that red and blue districts do not have major districts among them. there is an idea percolating that democrats favor defense cuts and republicans do not. that has not been substantiated by the evidence to the best i can tell. this is the national defense budget and inflation defensive terms. the bottom line is a base budget.
when you adjust for inflation, our budget has been declining for the past two years. that is this congress. even the high end of the oppressions were enacted, it is still be a nominal freeze. it would be a year three of cut. where are the two years into this. -- we are already two years into this. despite all the heartache, led this congress was the one that passed the budget control act. that includes both republicans and democrats. as you saw and the slide, the ads and flows of defense spending have crossed administrations of both parties historic plea. it was president eisenhower who cut after the korean war. nixon cut after the vietnam war. budget authority with the cold
war fell under the reagan administration and continue through the bush administration and clinton administration. portraying this as a difference. it does not seem to be true. the evidence does not back it up. history is important. we do have access inflows. what we do not have this plateaus. a plateau right now is what the pentagon thinks is going. were that to happen, we're on a path that would take a six% below. historically, but is good down by about 30%. while in may not be strictly partisan, we do have a district between where we typically go with defense costs and where we presently are.
the pressures are deeper than just the budget control act. two things are underlying. we're ending the wars. that is something the administration stressed and that our respondents seemed to favor it hit also, debt reduction is important is respectful -- irrespective of the things that in at 63 close of $4 trillion by their revenue increase or spending this. you are going to have to have something that will substitute for sequester. national defence was still be part. american views are a big reason why after the election are likely to see further reductions made to the national defense budget.
national defense will remain on the table. with that, i'm going to turn it over to adjustment. >> i am sorry i came late. the perils of mass transit. this is not a typical survey as everyone has said. it pushed them into a context in which policymakers actually make judgments, where they get information. they render a verdict. this can be dangerous ground. the built-in safeguards. the survey asked the same question over and over again but in a slightly different ways. it told people how much america spends on defense with five
different ways of comparing other defenses. are you surprised? this and what happens. people get a lot of information. their opinions can be shaped by the frame the conversation is occurring. we gave them by and watch what difference it made. then it ask, how much should we be spending? the survey provided balance information about nine key areas. when they were given a chance to set spending tallies, their net tally came out to be close to what people said that the top of the survey. they gave more or less the same answer. the survey did not push people into corners. the as what was the best way to cut the deficit. -- they asked what was the best
way to cut the deficit. they did not have to pick just one. how authoritative our these results? its challenge is what we previously understood. more democrats do this more deeply than republicans. people like spending on special forces. they like a missile defense. they are wary. they are wary of big ticket items like a jet or aircraft carrier. i would argue that it does. even if those polls to not have access to the same information our officials have or see the same classified data, they still have formed strong opinions that were strongly widely held.
outcomes are sometimes done by what minorities one. it is interesting to call it into some of the strongest views. here we will draft out some of the opinions that people held. the u.s. pro-defense spending arguments. we live in a hostile world. defense matters more than the deficit. defense jobs are important. then you have to look at the cons and you see these were among the most strongly held. they were more strongly held in the pro-argument. defense worsens the deficit. do not be the world's policeman. these are summaries. these are summaries of long paragraphs that people had a chance to read when they took the pole.
i urge you to look at the actual language. i want to call attention to this view point. it was the most widely held of all the viewpoints. 80% of all republicans and 80 6% of democrats basically said that members of congress often prove unnecessary spending for their districts or keith unneeded bases open to benefit their own supporters. -- or keep unneeded bases open to benefit their own supporters. they persuade lawmakers to improve weapons that aren't needed by giving them large campaign contributions and other personal benefit. this is the way the system works according to the vast majority of those we polled.
this is held by democrats and republicans. it is the most ugly held view of all the options that we gave people the -- strongly held view of all the options that we gave people. this survey is a reflection of where the public wants its leaders to go in broad strokes. it is why i can predict the cuts that have been settled on are just the beginning. the last thing i would mention is that these results have been widely circulated. they have not been challenged. these have appeared in more than 70 publications. with this i think we will invite your questions. >> there has been a lot of attention recently as candidates visited virginia. it is a big state, mostly because it is a recipient of big defense sellers. your survey would disprove that headline.
i was wondering what your comments are on some of that coverage. >> it is important to remember that when you hear reporting about political activity, it's just not necessarily mean that it represents public opinion. -- it does not necessarily mean that it represents public opinion. the interests are making contributions to candidates and so on. the individuals who are ultimately the voters, when you ask them to look at the big picture and get information, they come to the same conclusions.
it is an interesting dynamic that in general people do not look out for themselves when they are making judgments about public policy issues. they will probably be influenced to some extent by the way the money is being spent in virginia. if one side has more money to spend, and that can definitely have an impact. it probably will not be so focused on a vote for romney and he will save your job. i would despise but there was a lot of advertising along those lines. >> i want to add to that. it has been shown that this is not the issue that is occupying people's minds. motivating an electorate are rounded is likely not to be an effective strategy.
people are considering this one that is not at or near the top. i would also add a little bit of the information into what stevens said. this is a survey. we took a lot of pride and taking information. the information they received matters. the information that people in virginia and others received. it is not rain the same way as you see in the survey. you should expect that to have some effect on their attitudes and opinions. the other thing worth noting is the effect that an organized minority opinion can have. just because this is not the majority opinion does not mean that they're not well organized and influencing the political process. despite some of these
attitudinal things, organization also matters. >> i would add that actual data on job loss related to defense spending is very scarce. good data is even more scarce. there has been a survey done by the industry, by the aerospace industry, that predicts millions of jobs might be lost if this defense budget goes down. it is not a peer review to study. it has not been done in any academically certifiable manner. it predicts that the cut would be far deeper than what obama has proposed. it does not look at the set of options. immediately it imagines bit more serious. there are other studies that say different jobs are not the best.
and they do not create the most benefit to the economy as a whole. if people were reemployed from the defense industry, there would be broader benefits to society. when people are looking at this question, and they tend to look at it narrowly. they look at shifting employment from one place to another. it is clear that the rhetoric about defense cuts and their impact on virginia will probably motivate the people who work in the defense energy to go to the polls and take a decision which they see as protecting their economic future. the rest of virginians i doubt will have much impact. >> recently i think there was a
project with the eastern seaboard and missile defense that the majority of defense official spoke out against and congress passed it anyway. it'll never get past. short of reelecting our officials, what are some ways you think we can i eliminate projects that 70% of the dod think are unnecessary? >> i would first note that you are right. i do not think it clear the house. the prospects are poor. it's somehow escaped the hill. i emphasize that not for acknowledging the record but to point out that is part of what the liberation is. in that sense, the system is already working. to reiterate, it is also true that we're already on a cut path.
we have been cutting for the past two years. we want to continue cutting in 2013. if history is any guide, we will do it well beyond that. there is governors in place that are already regulating that. here question them pertains to what about the specific projects that the hill values but that the pentagon does not. what can you do to rectify that? i would first point out that in some ways it is not a problem. the mobile ambushed the vehicle was a program that the pentagon did not initially prioritize. people were getting blown up by ieds. there is a proper role for
congress and decision making and imposing some things on executive institutions. how to deal with the rest? management i think. there's got a golden bullet. it is something he will have to wrestle with on a case by case basis. you will have to hope that the governor's i have outlined are sufficient and that most of these things did not come into the budget. >> i should probably clarify that when people are percentage arguments pro and con, the majority respond favorably to both. it is not that most people are carrying around very discreet feelings of "i think defense should be cut and i am looking
for signs that this candidate is for or against that." it is not articulated like that. they say that is true. that is true. now i have to make the hard choice. then they make the hard choice. they do respond to arguments in favor of a weapon system. when congress says "here is the reason why we need to keep this weapon system." that would probably make sense to them. however, we asked when congress adds back money for programs at the pentagon does not want, do you think they are doing it for national security reasons or for some other reason? if you present the argument, they may go, maybe that makes
sense. but if you say the pentagon -- that has an impact, that overrides whatever that argument might have been. >> realistically, the fact that 80% of americans think that there is waste in the defense budget does not mean there will stop being waste in the defense budget. that will not be the thing that changes the day and we will suddenly change our ways. >> it is just one of the views that underpins the conviction of all that the defense budget can come down without suffering a loss and serious military capability. it is not going to deterrent -- going to determine the outcome, but it is one of the factors and one of the viewpoints that
influence the overall outcome of the polls, and the public's general sense that the vote -- that the budget overall can shrink. if everyone thought that we were buying a zuck with what we needed for security, then there would be a lot more nervous about the decline. >> spending has been reduced and the last six years, probably, but we do not have any data to show that confidence is up or down. >> confidence is one thing, but what that empirical data would look like, i think jeff is right that this is why some people are comfortable cutting the budget. but i'm not sure how the budget would be cut. waste reduces down pretty quickly to other people's priorities. when you are identifying what you consider to be waste worthy of a cut, it is in there for a reason.
someone else put it in there and it is their priority, not yours. identifying which waste will be cut and even measuring how much waste there is -- >> [inaudible] >> right, the only metric you could use is looking at gao's high risk, list for defense programs and determining that a number of them are on the list. the one is the dod, financial management systems, which has not been proven to be very successful in getting ready the financial data. the those systems themselves have been in breach of financial regulations. that is an aunt -- an anecdote that i'm not sure how are you attracted over time -- retract it over time. >> [inaudible] also, if you see any potential
for change in that. also, i was wondering [unintelligible] >> the information to my you can see exactly what was presented to them. and for nuclear weapons in general, there was a common argument for cuts -- con argument for cuts, that it plays a crucial role, that is our fallback. and that nuclear weapons have helped keep the peace and so on. and there were arguments related to missile defense. surrounding the triad, preserving bombers in the triad, we did not have so many arguments there.
if we were mostly focusing on the core proposal. in general, this takes me to another study we did where we asked people how many nuclear weapons they thought the u.s. had. and i'd think the average estimate was about 200, and deliverable. and we said, how many do you think the u.s. needs, and the average response was 100. i do think that probably there is some potential for people getting more comfortable with a smaller nuclear force. on a percentage basis, a nuclear weapons were cut the most, spending on nuclear weapons were cut the most, 27%.
americans do not particularly like nuclear weapons and in questions where they are asked what role nuclear weapons and should play, -- and this was included in our argument in the con, that we should not reduce spending because they have utility. in a kind of war-fighting context. not just for deterrence. the new developments in nuclear weapons are moving toward trying to make them more accurate, more limited so they can have utility in a war-fighting context. those kinds of arguments do not do well with the public. they think generally, nuclear weapons should be limited to a deterrent purpose, that they should never be used first by the u.s.
that limits what their interest in developing those capabilities is. specifically on the bomber, it did not do very well, that argument in favor of reducing or eliminating the bomber leg of the triad. i think that is a difficult concept for people. and it is not the first wave they would think about it. they like arms control. they like moving toward reductions. and overwhelmingly, they endorse the ultimate goal of completely eliminating nuclear weapons. that is based on various polls that we and others have done.
and they support developing an international regime with intrusive inspections and then gradually reducing step by step toward complete elimination. >> the specific bomber information, some people say that given how powerful nuclear weapons are, some say it is better to have enough and we should not have too many. others say that we need to have enough to call on them at the last minute. in that context, people decided it was probably better to have three instead of two ways of delivering. but they also said that the idea of a strategic bomber -- a new strategic bomber was not a good one. the vast majority -- a strong majority, but a majority nonetheless -- not a strong majority, but a majority nonetheless were in favor of reducing.
on nuclear weapons as a whole, the overall changes that people made it were to cut about one quarter of the budget now been spent on nuclear weapons. republicans were a little bit less. democrats were a little bit more. there was still strong sentiment on the side of both parties on cutting the nuclear-weapons budget. >> there are these preferences that will shape the way that the nuclear triad programs and other nuclear programs unfold. there are also budget realities at play. i will start by putting another stemson report that came out a month ago looking at the 10-year cost of the nuclear programs, including both military delivery vehicles and the energy department's of the national security administration.
a couple of things worth noting in the 10-year plan, the next generation bomber is in it and also a new ballistic missile submarine that comes into play later. the bomber program is peg? -- is pegged at 80 to 100 aircraft, $65 million programs. you saw chief of staff schwartz saying several months ago that he was intensely aware of a call for needs in that program. he even went to the -- went so far as to say that they would lose the program if cross discipline was not maintained. we will get a case study in the next claviers about whether to break off this cost curve of aircraft procurement or not. the stakes are relatively high, at least in the way that the sitting chief of staff has framed it. the other thing, a ballistics the other thing, a ballistics the marines, which come into